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“Toof-brush” May Change the Way We Brush

May 23, 2014

By Dean George

Inspiration sometimes comes in odd places and unique ways. For one member of the military, his inspirational moment came while on combat deployment in Afghanistan.

Green Beret and former Special Forces Medic Staff Sgt Steven Walther first imagined a new type of toothbrush while running an oral health clinic in a combat zone in 2009 and 2010. The clinic served the local Afghan population and Walther saw a lot of bad teeth and performed several tooth extractions.

Steven Walther

During that time Walther noticed that a common problem many had with tooth brushing was exerting too much pressure with their toothbrush.

As we have noted in Agent Straight-Talk, even U.S. civilians far from the front lines of battle have the tendency to “crush brush” in an effort to hurry through the chore. Because many people completely wrap their hands around the handle of their toothbrushes, this allows their arms to bear down on their teeth and gums and gives them way more leverage than necessary. This “power grip” also allows minimal control.

It was while reading a book about body language and thinking about why people can’t seem to stop themselves from brushing too hard that he realized toothbrush handles were enabling this bad behavior. He reasoned that if you took away the ability to be overly aggressive when brushing, you could help break the crush brushing habit and help prevent gingivitis and damaging teeth.  That is how the Toof-inger Brush® became reality.

The Toof-inger Brush® handle has a much shorter handle than a traditional toothbrush and requires just a thumb and 2 fingers to hold when brushing. This “Pinch Grip” occurs when one presses the thumb against the fingers without involving the palm. The pinch grip generates just 15-25% of the force exerted than the full handed power grip and also provides more control.

The Toof-inger Brush® also has finger grooves that make the brush easier to rotate and trains users to apply less pressure when brushing. "Many people apply too much pressure while brushing, which causes damage to gums," said Walther. “The Toof-inger Brush® changes the way we brush."


Walther told an interviewer at his alma mater at Campbell University that he began drawing sketches of the Toof-inger Brush® in 2012 before later making a mock-up toothbrush handle using a wooden dowel and dremel tool. He said he knew he was on the right track when he later gave a functional prototype to a dentist he knew and she admitted it was the first time she could remember being excited about brushing her teeth.

Walther’s Toof-inger Brush® has received outstanding reviews since debuting at a North Carolina Dental Society meeting in 2013. The toothbrush has been praised as ideal for children, seniors with dexterity issues and as a great travel toothbrush.

The Toof-inger Brush® retails for just $3.99 or $9 for a 3-pack and can be purchased on Amazon or through Walther’s website at toofingerbrush.com.

Sources: Digital Journal, toofbrush.com, abc11.com, campbell.edu
Photo source: toofingerbrush.com


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